past 12 months have not been a good year, whether economically,
politically, educationally or socially.
In fact, Malaysia seems to
get further and further from our nation-building moorings agreed by
our forefathers of all communities in the social contract on the
attainment of independence in 1957 that Malaya and then Malaysia shall
forever be a multi-racial, democratic and secular nation, with Islam
as the official religion but not an Islamic state.
This should be a sober
point to ponder while Malaysians celebrate the Chinese New Year of the
Dog – how at the mid-point of the 30-year Vision 2020 to become a
fully developed nation with the emergence of a Bangsa Malaysia, the
goal seems as distant as ever.
The five-year Ninth
Malaysia Plan 2006-2010 will be debated and approved by Parliament in
April. Will it launch the country into greater national unity and
cohesion with enhanced international competitiveness or the reverse,
as many signs are pointing in that direction?
Will the next 12 months
see the Prime Minister shake off his two-year inertia and lethargy to
make full use of the unprecedented 92% landslide electoral victory
in March 2004 to downsize the jumbo Cabinet with “towering
Ministers”, end the stalemate of “one man versus the system” with
institutional reforms, curb corruption and put in place the
conditions for a Malaysia which can pride itself as having both
“First-World Infrastructure, First-World Mentality”?
If such prospects are
not bright, are Malaysians prepared to give serious thought how to
make the new year most meaningful by banding together to effect such
Happy Chinese New Year
but think of these challenges to our nation.